Fine food & slow travel, it’s a seductive match – the recipe for the perfect trip. When travelling, it’s so satisfying to discover that special place; that lucky find that’s away from the tourist centre, offering an authentic welcome and most importantly a wonderful menu, writes Andrew Forbes.
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to one such unique place, El Patio de Gloria, found in a 16th century Mallorquin mansion house now reimagined as a chic 5-star, boutique hotel in Palma de Mallorca. Add this place to your little black book; it’s a gem. I know that sounds a cliché, but the restaurant brings together a romantic setting, great location and splendid food.
Chef Javier Gardonio
Executive Chef Javier Gardonio recently joined El Patio de Gloria and over the past few months he and his team have created a unique Palma dining experience, with a menu that combines homespun comfort-food sharing plates; creative fusion; and elegant fine-dining.
Chef Gardonio, a 36-year-old Argentinian, has brought a youthful energy and creativity to this elegant all-day restaurant. Although found within the upscale surroundings of the 5-star Gloria de Sant Jaume Hotel, El Patio is about capturing the relaxed authenticity of life on this Mediterranean island. Chef Javier Gardonio brings with him years of experience working with some of Spain’s most decorated chefs. He is also a charismatic, down-to-earth guy and that’s reflected in the authenticity of his style and his satisfying menu.
Our meal was an engaging and unpretentious dining experience, where Gardonio showcased local produce from the Balearics and infuses them with his Argentinian flair.
Starting the evening well, we indulged in an artisan cocktails at the bar. Sergio, the hotel’s talented mixologist prepared tequila and Mezcal based drinks – sophisticated and original, with personal touches like the smoky maple syrup from Canada where he had lived for a while.
Once at the table the sharing starters began to arrive.
First a nest of tangled fishing net cradling croquettes of octopus. Golden brown, soft to bite, bursting with flavour from the inky black filling.
The empanada, as you might expect from an Argentinian, was superb; a homage to those of Gardonio’s childhood when his grandmother would prepare them with the tender meat left over from the previous day’s stew.
Suckling pig is a Mallorca’s classic; but how about trying it ‘ChinoMex’ style?! Here it’s served as a crispy roll; quite a surprise – again a dish to share. Create your own nem with the Mexican Yucatan style pibil pork, avocado purée and basil, and wrap it all up in a lettuce leaf like a Vietnamese spring roll.
The steak tartare was sensational – prepared with cream of foie gras, infused with beech wood smoke, and dressed with shavings of truffle. Just mix it with the spoon and serve on the accompanying Carasau bread.
Touch of Fire
The red mullet with a ‘touch of fire’ is adds a touch of theatre to the meal, flambeed at the table by Miguel Hermida, maître d’, who relishes in the opportunity to interact with guests – he’s entertaining and high professionally.
The fire added an extra layer of flavour that went perfect with the Thai style vegetables.
New for the season is the slow-cooked pork belly with oriental sauerkraut and emulsion of toasted almond and soy.
Pudding was carob, which is abundant on Mallorca. Tasted so good with the toasted almond ice-cream and roast pear.
Chic & Sophisticated
The restaurant is chic; in fact, the flawless decor and extravagantly stocked champagne cabinets might lead you initially to think you’re in for a formal affair.
Yet this all-day café, restaurant and cocktail bar is instead a very relaxed retreat in the heart of the city. The team, and the style of cooking encourage a more laid-back ambiance. The main dining room is cosy, embraced by original features of this historic mansion; an ancient carved fireplace, warm, honey-coloured walls, beamed ceiling and a herringbone wooden floor.
The patio courtyard with its traditional fountain is a cool escape from the Mediterranean heat; and romantic place for a candle-lit dinner.
The private dining area is quite remarkable, housed within a stone vaulted room where contemporary design mixed with antiques.
We wish Executive Chef Javier Gardonio all the very best with El Patio de Gloria, at the Gloria de Sant Jaume Hotel. Make sur you add it to our itinerary when travelling in Mallorca.
El Patio de Gloria
Carrer Sant Jaume, 20 07012
Palma de Mallorca España
Tel: +34 971 717 997
Open from 8:00 to 00:00. Monday to Sunday.